Regular Mecho

Regular Mecho and Ocho are two traditional origami butterfly described in “Wrapping Origami” by Yoshihide Momotani (1993). Momotani gives instructions to fold 3 pairs of paper butterflies:
  • Classical Mecho & Ocho (from Kayaragusa)
  • Formal Mecho & Ocho (Traditional), and
  • Regular Mecho & Ocho (Traditional)

Instruction to fold “regular” Mecho is shown below.

Mecho and Ocho are historically important because they are first examples of representational origami. The paper butterflies were used to decorate sake bottles during wedding ceremonies. In current day Japan, Mecho and Ocho are still sometimes used in the same manner; they are not common origami models which you might see everyday.

It is unclear why Momotani uses the word “regular” to describe these butterflies, but the terms “formal” and “regular” will be used to maintain consistency.

Instructions to fold “Regular” Mecho.


Make a waterbomb base. Precrease a square sheet of paper as shown and collapse into an inverted waterbomb.

Work with the top-right flap.

  1. Fold the edge of the flap towards the central midline. Make a pinch fold (green arrow).
  2. Mountain fold (fold back) the flap so the edge meets the pinch mark made above.
  3. Fold this flap in half (join green dots) so the edge of the flap aligns with the midline.
  4. Repeat with left flap.
Work with the bottom tip of the model which will become the head of the butterfly.

  1. a) Mountain fold (fold behind) the tip of the model (this will be the head of the butterfly.
    b) Make a valley fold so the tip of the head protrudes beyond the model.
  2. Mountain fold once more.
  3. Fold in the wings as shown.
  4. Valley fold the head region of the model to get an intricately pleated head.
  5. Done!

Books about Origami Butterflies

  • Butterfly Origami by Roman Diaz
  • Butterflies in Origami by Nick Robinson
  • Easy Butterfly Origami by Tammy Yee
  • Origami Butterflies Mini Kit: Kit with Origami Book, and Instructional DVD by LaFosse and Alexander
  • See books with origami insects in: USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France

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